At the start of the welcomed nationwide truce by all parties to the conflict in Yemen which opens the door to addressing Yemen’s urgent humanitarian and economic needs and creates a genuine opportunity to restart Yemen’s political process, the Houthis (who call themselves Ansar Allah) have signed an Action Plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, the killing and maiming of children, and attacks on schools and hospitals as well as other grave violations. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, signed the Action Plan in New York as a witness and welcomed this additional measure to reinforce the protection of Yemeni children who have suffered tremendously after seven years of destructive conflict.
“The United Nations welcomes efforts by all parties to the conflict to end and prevent grave violations against children and this new commitment by the Houthis is a positive and encouraging step in that direction,” said the Special Representative. With this new Action Plan, all main parties to the conflict in Yemen have signed commitments to end and prevent grave violations against children. Through this Action Plan, the Houthis commit to ending the recruitment and use of children including in support roles, identifying, and releasing children from their ranks within six months, and providing them with reintegration support. Provisions on the prevention of the killing and maiming of children and on the protection of health and education facilities are also included in the Action Plan.
“The most difficult part of the journey starts now. The Action Plan must be fully implemented and lead to tangible actions for the improvement of the protection of children in Yemen,” the Special Representative added.
More than 10,200 children have been killed or maimed and close to 3,500 children have been verified as recruited and used in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict, which recently entered its eighth year. Yemen is also one of the countries with the highest number of incidents of denial of humanitarian access to populations in-need, including children. The Special Representative called on the Houthis to facilitate access for humanitarian actors to communities affected by the conflict.
She further called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to use the opportunity of the current truce to reprioritize the rights and needs of children. In this respect, she urged all actors involved to include child protection provisions in the ongoing peace negotiations to bring long-term and sustainable peace in Yemen. “Ultimately, obtaining lasting peace is the best way to protect children in Yemen and should be the first objective of all parties to the conflict in the country,” she emphasized.
She reiterated the availability of the United Nations to support the Houthis and other parties in Yemen in the implementation of Action Plans and of other measures to reinforce the protection of children from the ravages of hostilities.
Note to editors
United Nations Security Council resolution 1539 (2004) and subsequent resolutions on children and armed conflict request the United Nations to engage in dialogue with listed Governments and armed groups to develop Action Plans to halt and prevent violations against children.
Listed parties in Yemen in the latest Secretary-General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (A/75/873–S/2021/437)
List A- Listed parties that have not put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children
- Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (recruitment and use)
- Houthis (who call themselves Ansar Allah) (killing and maiming, attacks on schools and hospitals)
- Pro-government militias, including the Salafists and popular committees (recruitment and use)
- Security Belt Forces (recruitment and use)
List B – Listed parties that have put in place measures during the reporting period aimed at improving the protection of children
- Government forces, including the Yemen Armed Forces (recruitment and use)
- Houthis (who call themselves Ansar Allah) (recruitment and use)
Other commitments signed by parties to the conflict in Yemen
Yemeni Government Forces (YGF) – Action Plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children signed in 2014; Roadmap to end and prevent child recruitment and use signed in 2018 and ongoing.
Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen – Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2019 to end and prevent the killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals, leading to continued significant decrease in violations and still ongoing.
For additional information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / firstname.lastname@example.org
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